One of the biggest changes you can make to your bike is the addition of a set of bag extensions. They traditionally get molded to the bottom of the factory fiberglass saddlebags and look great. Most of the bag extenders also look nice with a set of filler panels between the fender and bags and are cut out for dual exhaust. The thing about putting a set of bag extensions on your bike is that you're really not gaining anything except a new lower look.
But what if there was a set of deeper bags that just replaced the bags you already have on the bike? They have the same great-looking extensions molded to the bottom, but instead of retaining the inside dimensions of the stock bags, there is no false bottom and they are deep. We found that there was enough room in one of these bags to pack four extra T-shirts, four pairs of boxers and four pairs of socks-and that is just one side! So not only do the Simms bags look great, they are functional as well.
The Simms stretched bags come with a carpeted liner already installed and work with the factory mounts, hinges and latches. In fact, all of the holes that need to be drilled into the bags for the factory hardware are marked in the gelcoat on the exterior of the bags as small pockmarks. Ron and the boys have been producing their stretched bags since 1995, so they have plenty of practice making them perfect. And the actual installation time, including drilling all of the holes and installing the hardware, is about 20 minutes per side. All that's left to do is ship the bags off to the paint shop and get them painted to match the color of your bike.
(1.)Here you can clearly see the height difference between the new Simms stretched bag (left) and the factory Harley-Davidson bag (right).
(2.)We brought out a tape measure to see the difference in interior depth of the two bags. We measured from the very bottom of the bags to the top lip, and the difference in the depth is just over 5 1/2 inches. Granted Simms' bag is narrower at the bottom where it is cut out for the muffler, but it is a ton deeper.
(3.)Our unsuspecting victim is James Crosby's 2007 Street Glide that has already been fit with a long rear fender and filler panels.
(4.)To make it easier to see the holes that need to be drilled in the bags for the stock Harley-Davidson mounting hardware, a red Sharpie is used to fill in all of the pockmarks in the otherwise smooth gelcoat on the outside of the bags.
(5.)All of the latch and hinge holes are drilled out with the appropriate-sized bit.
(6.)And the same size bit was used for the pilot hole in the back of the bags where the much larger hole for the rubber grommets must be cut.
(7.)A rotary file is then used to open up the hole in the back of the bags. We could have used a larger drill bit, but when you use a large drill bit like that on fiberglass, you risk leaving a rough edge around the hole, because a large drill has a tendency to chip the smooth gelcoat.
(8.)The rubber grommet is then pushed through the new hole with the help of a small screwdriver.
(9.)The mounting pad for the bottom of the bag is less critical but necessary nonetheless. The hole that has to be drilled for it is marked with a Sharpie as well.
(10.)The holes are then drilled inside the channel in the bottom of the bag.
(11.)The rubber nubs from the bottom mounts are fed into the freshly drilled holes on the bottom of the bags.
(12.)Then a pair of needle-nose pliers is used to pull the rubber nub the rest of the way through to lock the lower pads in place.
(13.)The strikers for the bag latches are set into place and attached using the factory hardware.
(14.)The lid and hinge are removed from the factory bags as one piece and are transferred over to the new bags using the freshly drilled holes and the factory hardware.
(15.)And in about 20 minutes, we have a completed bag ready to install on James's bike.
(16.)The bag sits on the factory tubular mount just like the factory unit.
(17.)And the upper quick releases install just like the factory bags as well. Because the new Simms bags are very similar in shape to the factory bags, you don't have to worry about shock or exhaust clearance problems.
(18.)With the factory bag on one side and the Simms bag on the other, you can get an idea of how dramatic the difference is in the look of the new bags.
(19.)And with both bags installed, you can see how the new bags form-fit around the dual exhaust and complement the longer fender and filler panels that have already been installed. Now all that is left to do is paint everything to match ...